THE GOLD MINES.
(From our Special Reporter.)
Turon River, November 17, 1851.
The generally unsettled, state of the weather during the present month has materially affected mining operations on the Turon. All workings in river beds and on .flats are necessarily suspended, or carried on with the assistance of pumps, with, the greatest difficulty, and most imperfectly. Hardly any one of the bars on the Turon has been completely worked, and most of them not half, in consequence of the continued showers keeping the river at too high a level. Golden Point Bar, for instance, although many of the holes began to run out even before the rise of the water so materially interfered with their working, is really not half worked, and must remain so until the water, falls, which I have every reason to think will not be till some time after Christmas. It must be understood that I speak now of the claims on tho river flat, or bar, at Golden Point, the diggings which were first discovered at this rich
spot, and where the Halls, the Wests, and Woodward have made such large
sums. The richness of the bank at Golden
Point was a comparatively late discovery, and the present diggings on this Point are confined almost wholly to the bank. The river flats at the Commissioner's
Point, at Lucky Point, Sheepstation Point, Neale's Point, Gwynne's Bar, &c., are much in the same predicament as that of Golden Point, impossible to be worked thoroughly until the river goes down. And it may be confidently anticipated that whenever the fall,of the river permits these places to be worked, a very large yield of gold dust will be obtained.
The rise of the Turon has not, how- ever, been without its compensating con- sequences, although a temporary evil, it has caused lasting benefits ; for it was in consequence of the first flooding in the river that the dry diggings were found out ; and the continued difficulties in working the river claims are constantly inducing miners to prospect the ground in every direction, with various success. Much attention is now paid to these dry diggings for, from what is already known of their extent and profitableness, it is not at all improbable that the chief part of the ground in the vicinity of Sofala will pay for being worked. It is very certain that the most remarkable yields of gold have been from holes in dry diggings, and from their probable extent there will be a permanency about them not belong- ing to the alluvial workings. About Sofala there is no place unoccupied in the alluvial. .diggings, so that new' comers, unless they purchase a hole, must have recourse to the dry diggings, which, after all, offer as great inducements as any others. To work these holes with dis- patch they must have excellent picks, heavy and well steeled, as tho strata, through which they must delve to reach the gold, are of no common,hardness. In a future communication I shall offer some
suggestions to intending gold-seekers, which maybe of service, and at the same time point out the indications in a gold region which accompany a largo deposit of gold ; the special looalities; in creeks
and rivers where the most gold will be found, with the reasons, so far as I have been able to ascertain, why such places are abundant in the precious metal, and others not pos- sessing the same characteristics are not so. The chief reason why at Summerhill so many persons were unfortunate, al- though they wrought most perseveringly, was their ignorance of the proper locali- ties to select ; consequently, they struck in as chance directed them, and hundreds wrought for days, and even weeks, in places which the slightest knowledge of gold-digging would prevent them from ever attempting.
I have just heard of a large piece of gold having been picked up at Louisa Creek by a boy. Rumour has varied the weight of the piece, and the circumstances attending its being found, in every pos- sible way. Taking one of, the most mo- derate variations, it would seem that the lump weighs about fifty lbs. It was on the banks of Louisa Creek, that the blackfellow discovered the celebrated hundredweight in the matrix, and many beautiful specimens of nuggets in quartz are constantly being found there. It would seem that that Goliath of gold nuggets was not without his gigantic mates, and we may reasonably expect to hear of others being brought to light in process of time. Louisa is one of the tributaries of the Meroo Creek, upon which hundreds of gold-diggers are situated, doing very well upon tho average.
The new regulations have not been quite so stringently enforced as was ex- pected. At the commencement of the month many and lugubrious were the stories told of miners, found digging with- out a license, ruthlessly seized by the myrmidons of power, and unless the penalty of three pounds were at once handed down, conveyed handcuffed to the. watchhouse. The Commissioners appear to regard the large powers given, to them by the late regulations, rather as authority upon which to act in extreme cases, than authority, for instant and indiscriminate severity. Policemen, however, are sta- tioned at intervals, whose duty it is to see that, no parties work without a license. It is very questionable, howavcr, whether the Government could legally punish a man for digging without a license, unless as a trespasser on Crown lands, for as yet no law has been passed by the legis- lature for the purpose. It is to be hoped that at an early period some measure will be brought forward which will place the matter on a defined and satisfactory basis, -taxing the gold digger upon a more just and liberal principle than the present, and letting those who dig without a license; understand clearly the penalties which they incur. Under the present system everything depends on the caprice, whim, or temper of the Commissioner. If he is a gentleman, the miners can depend upon being dealt with justly and liberally ; but if crochetty, arrogant, or tyrannical, he may probably signalise himself by driving a pick through some poor devil's cradle. We miners have no right to submit to judge-made law. A man who pays his license, and acts straightforwardly, ought to be as independent of the Commissioner as of the Pope, or the Khan of Tartary. But it is notorious that the contrary is the case. Mr. Hardy is more despotic than the Autocrat of the Russias; his word is
law-his decision, final-his condemna- tion, irrevocable. He does not wait long to hear the pros and cons ; rapidly comes to a decision ; and in a twink- ling passes, judgment from which there is ' no appeal. The result is what might be expected-the ex- istence of a great deal of, cringing servi- lity among the miners, Now, Mr. Hardy is not by any manner of means a bad fel- low; and on the whole, is well liked by the gold diggers. He is well adapted for his situation, being affable and considcrate -sharp, and off hand--and can go through
a deal of business in a short time. Mr. King, too, is quite a gentleman, and very well liked. But how if these gentlemen had been of opposite dispositions - tyrani- cal, corrupt, and overbearing ? It is easy to see what monstrous abuses may exist under a system where the arbiter and dis- penser, of justice is guided by no univer- sally admitted rules, but makes his own law, and dispenses it without appeal !
The weather continues very unsettled. During the past week heavy gales of wind, occasional showers, and sunny days, cha- racterized the weather. Yesterday, during the greater part of the day, very hazy sky, heavy masses of clouds, and strong wind, blowing in violent gusts, prevailed. In the afternoon, a thunder storm came over from the westward, and cleared the air. The lightning was remarkably vivid and close, the claps of thunder being deaf- ening and instantaneous. Very heavy rain, accompanied with hail stones, fell, and tho air grow keen and frosty towards and during the night.
(From our-regular Correspondent)
Sofala, November 18.
So far as I con learn, and my oppor-
tunities for acquiring local information are exceeded by few residents, the Turon, hitherto, comparatively but a sealed book, is now beginning to open its leaves, so that "he that-runs may read," and he that is disposed to halt and gather up the beauties of its pages, can do so almost without let or hindrance. The mind gets spell-bound in contemplating tho fruitful changes, incidental to these discoveries, and although for months past one has been perpetually accosted with the innocent in- terrogatory, " Isn't it wonderful ?" time itself seems to add emphasis to tho demand, and the solution of this apparently simple question becomes at once both puzzling and profound. In every direction arouud us, over hill and dale-on table land-in mountain gullies and in swamps, daily, un- mistakeable, tangiblo evidence of the abundant existence of tho prized metal is afforded, whilst - mother Earth mocks the sage deductions of the learned, and gaily flings her rich fields open indiscriminately to the sons and daughters of Adam. An import duty will, must, presently be put upon labour : as people land they ought to
be asked for their admission tickets, other-
wise the tempting intelligence connected
with the mineral wealth of this once lan- guid wing of the British Empire, arousing abroad and at home an irresistible desire to be amongst us, will-inundate our shores with an overwhelming population, eager to participate in the glory and the gains of the
approaching epoch. The day before yes- terday, a labouring man from Windsor, brought me his bag to let me estimate his fortnight's profits - it contained 110ozs. !! At Ration Hill, a gentleman well known in Sydney, got 15ozs. before dinner, yesterday (Monday), and the neighbourhood of the claim was consequently soon besieged. On the opposite bank Mr. Thomas Wilson obtains a rich diurnal yield; and several near him obtain from 4 to 14 ozs. per diem. On the flat opposite Thompson's Bar the most successful diggers, during the last few days, have been Messrs. Tighe, of Parramatta, five in party; Grainger, Potts, Robertson (the architect's son), Townend, and old Frank Piper, all of Sydney. Laing's party also (re- ported before) continue to, propitiate the fickle goddess. - Near this spot from Ryan and Stuart's hole, 20 ozs. were taken on Saturday. The Golden Rock on Munday Point, keeps up its character, but lower down tho river, the rains have played sad havoc with the most prolific claims. At Lucky Point a decided case of "peppering" occurred the other day, in which Messrs. Davis and Jones, of Newtown, were victimized to the tune of £55. Another ''dodge" is now being carried on, in which science is brought to the aid of knavery. Pieces of chrystalized quartz are procured from the Louisa or elsewhere, and under the action of the blow pipe, gold in a state of fusion is thrown between its prisms, the collectors of specimens is thus easily duped, and exorbitant prices obtained for almost valueless compositions. Attempts have also been made to foist off spurious metal, of a golden colour and of great
weight, as the ore itself, but the imposi-
tions have, in the instances coming under my observation, been detected or suspected in
time to check the fraud.
Sunday rioting prevails to a great ex- tent, notwithstanding tho efforts of the Mounted Police, whose swords are occa- sionally drawn and pistols cocked to in- timidate offenders. The people are usually, orderly, but on the Sabbath crowds of half-adult blackguards congregate near Burton's circus, yelling and hooting at the authorities, who are obliged now and then to make a desperate example of some one or other of the crowd. A foot police is essentially required, and till such a force is organised no effectual stop can be put to these dis-
Bakeries have been opened, and a bakers cart regularly goes its round, supplying us with the 2 lb. fresh loaf for 9d. Vegetable carts too have begun to show amongst us, and a salad is now a necessary dainty on the dinner table of a first class digger.
The Church of England progresses rapidly towards completion, and will be thoroughly opened for Divine Service on Sunday